What should full car insurance coverage in Georgia really include?

While you have plenty of options when it comes to selecting car insurance, the motive should always be the same. You want enough coverage to protect you should you get into any kind of car accident. The problem is that “full coverage” isn’t a real insurance term.

This is where it can get tricky. Some policies lull you into thinking they’re giving you the ‘right’ amount of coverage, when really they’re not offering the protection you need no matter who’s at fault in an accident.

To ensure you make smart choices when crafting your car insurance policy, let’s debunk the two biggest insurance myths out there today.

Car insurance myth #1: You only need minimum coverage

State law in Georgia establishes a minimum amount of liability coverage you must have as a licensed driver. Because this requirement comes from the state, many people wrongfully believe it’s just enough car insurance and they don’t need to look at adding onto their policy.

In Georgia, minimum liability insurance, which helps pay damages to others when you’re at-fault in a car accident, includes coverage for bodily liability injury ($25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident) and property damage liability ($25,000 per incident.)

Nowhere in this minimum coverage is there any protection against damage to your own vehicle or injury to yourself or the passengers in your car if someone hits you. That means if you’re at-fault in a car accident, you have zero coverage for yourself. All property repairs and medical bills could be your responsibility.

The total value covered with the minimum liability limits may not protect you completely either. While the average claim for bodily injury is a little more than $20,000, and the average property damage claim is right around $5,000, there’s no guarantee you’ll have an ‘average’ accident. Do you have enough personal funds to cover the difference if your accident damages exceed these averages? Think about the possibility of the other car getting totaled and the cost to replace it. Think about not just the cost of medical expenses, but covering loss of wages and long-term care if you injure someone.

Car insurance myth #2: Comprehensive car insurance has you covered

Comprehensive car insurance probably needs to be renamed. We hear the word comprehensive and think ‘complete’ or ‘full,’ yet comprehensive coverage, a type of physical damages insurance, doesn’t even cover collision damage to your own vehicle.

If you want to protect your car against theft, vandalism or fire, this is the policy you add on to your liability insurance. It’s not going to protect you in an accident. It’s not going to pay for the dings and dents and more serious damage that comes from a collision if it’s your fault. For that, you’ll also need collision insurance.

Neither of these types of car insurance are part of the required Georgia minimums, although if you lease or finance your car, your lender will likely require you to have some form of physical damage insurance, usually comprehensive and collision coverage. The lender will want to be paid if you total a car you owe money on.

Why you need to have “full coverage”

Full coverage is what the goal should be: to ensure you are covered for every scenario that can occur in a car accident. Full coverage combines liability, collision and comprehensive, and uninsured motorist coverages.

Liability coverage protects you from claims made by other drivers if you’re at fault. An appropriate amount will cost you more than the state minimum, but will save you money in the long run since you will avoid potentially catastrophic personal expenses if you ever cause an accident.

Comprehensive and Collision coverages protect your car from any potential damages to the vehicle.

Uninsured Motor protects you if you’re the victim in a car accident. If the at-fault driver doesn’t have any insurance, or only has state minimums, and your damages exceed those amounts, Uninsured Motorist coverage will kick in and pay you for your additional losses.

Beyond this full coverage package, you want to consider additional components to add to your car insurance policy. Remember, the goal is to protect yourself, no matter the circumstances, if you’re in a car accident. To do this, consider adding onto your full coverage described above any or all of these supplements:

  • Medical Payments Coverage — this is money to pay for medical expenses regardless of how an accident happens or who is at fault.
  • Gap Insurance — covers the difference between your car’s actual value and the amount you may still owe on a loan or lease if your car is totaled or stolen.
  • New Car Replacement Coverage — covers the purchase of a new car of the same make and model if your current car is totaled; you won’t have to deal with the car’s depreciated value.
  • Rental Reimbursement Insurance — pays for you to have a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired after an accident, allowing you to stay mobile while your car is in the shop.

When it’s time to file an insurance claim — don’t act alone

You’ve now spent all this time pulling together a car insurance policy that covers you completely. You feel confident you’ve protected yourself against large out-of-pocket expenses. But then, you get into an accident and suddenly that friendly insurance company becomes difficult to work with. You’re worried you won’t get the compensation you deserve or the coverage you expected.

You’re not alone.

Dealing with an insurance company, even your own, after a car accident is not easy. Plus, you’re distracted dealing with personal injuries and property damage. At Watson Injury Law, we take this responsibility off your plate. Let us work with the insurance companies, standing in your corner to fight for the compensation you deserve. One free consultation is all it takes to get this process started. We’ll manage your claim so you can concentrate on healing. Contact us today to learn more.

start your recovery

Call our team today for a free consultation.

We want to connect with you and help you during this challenging time. If it’s more convenient to communicate via email, please reach out to us at info@watsoninjurylaw.com.